Kenya Lifts Ban On Uganda’s Powdered Milk
The Kenya Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development has lifted the ban on the importation of dairy products, which it had imposed earlier this month.
The lift was announced by Harry Kamtai, the Principal Secretary to the Ministry in a letter copied to all dairy products importers in Kenya.
“Take note that, Importation of products under the East African Community (EAC) protocol refers to goods being imported from outside the East African Community, while goods traded within EAC are referred to as transfers,” reads part of Kamtai’s communique.
“The stoppage issued through Kenya Dairy Board letter ref. KDB/MD/SED/1 VOL.5/58 dated March 6, 2023, is hereby suspended to allow for the dairy industry (Import and Export) Regulations 2021 to apply accordingly,” he said
The development means that Uganda will resume exporting its dairy products especially powdered milk to Nairobi.
Kenyan authorities specifically the Kenya Dairy Board, KDB, said that ban was intended to protect its local farmers from external products, as they anticipated an increase in their output.
“In anticipation of the long rains, the Government has stopped the importation of milk powders to cushion the industry from surplus production and low prices,” said Margaret Kibogy, the KDB Managing Director on March 6.
Kenya is Uganda’s primary milk market, but persistent barriers have prompted a search for new markets, particularly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Zambia, and Algeria.
According to the Dairy Development Authority, the main destinations for dairy products such as casein, whey protein powder, UHT milk, and milk powder have been exported more to the United Arab Emirates, Syria, Japan, Oman, the United States, Nepal, and Bangladesh.
Reports indicate that processed milk accounts for more than 35% of Uganda’s marketed milk. It is unclear how much milk powder is exported to Kenya.
In February this year, President William Ruto in a special message delivered by Kenya’s Special Presidential Envoy for the Tripartite Free Trade Area who is also the Cabinet Secretary for Investment, Trade and Industry, Moses Kuria. to his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni agreed to open markets to Ugandan milk, chicken and eggs.
The two also discussed the need to have a comparative advantage in the production of agricultural products to avoid the tendency of competition.
For several years, there has been an impasse after Kenya blocked the entry of Ugandan maize, chicken products and milk into their market.
Whereas Kenya has always benefited from Uganda’s open trade policies, the coastal country has however for the past four or so years exhibited protectionist tendencies in a bid to block Ugandan products from entering their market.
Kenyan authorities have blocked Ugandan products like milk, beef, eggs, cereals, sugar, and maize, among others, leading to a trade war between the two neighbouring countries.
However, the election of Ruto as president was seen by many as a blessing to Uganda in this regard.
Late last year, Ruto hinted at opening the country’s market fully to Ugandan products.
“Uganda should bring cheaper milk here because they can produce it more cheaply. We should (also endeavour) to add value to our milk,” Ruto said during a function at the Kenya Association of Manufacturers in November last year.